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Does It Float?: Don Jon

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Don Jon's Addiction-1945.cr2

Upon the invention of this series, I was hoping Does It Float? would successfully show how a movie can be conceived in different ways.  It doesn’t always have to be a positive experience turning into a negative one or vice versa, however.  Maybe a movie could still be a solid watch on separate occasions for different reasons.  Who would’ve guessed Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s feature length directorial debut Don Jon would be that film to prove this?

Don Jon was the first TIFF film I saw in a theatre when my festival coverage was kicking off; and, what a great movie to start the moviegoing.  I thought Don Jon was a sharp take on old fashioned Hollywood romance being set in a modern day social scene inspired by pop culture hits like MTV’s Jersey Shore.

Gordon-Levitt makes these lively environments into a watering hole for pining young men in search of an alluring one-night-stand.  The ambitious director/writer/actor doesn’t paint males or females in a way that’s discriminating, but rather gives the typical stereotype a persistent voice and mind.

My cringing reaction to Don Jon’s crassness is still in tact even moreso now.  I remember reading other reviews once mine went live, and the number of people who warned their readers about the vague clips from actual pornography was very high.  These cutaways didn’t bother me so much the first time around because I was too busy reacting to how blunt and graphic Jon describes sex.  But, on a second viewing, I had more of a realization as to how often these snippets would roll out at full force.

This leads me into my re-watch of Don Jon.  A lot of my original admirations and criticisms are still relevant, but because I was more aware of the film’s unique characteristics, I couldn’t help but feel the film taking on a more abrasive role with a more intimate home viewing experience.  However, Gordon-Levitt’s flick may have served me a new hand of cards, but I came up with results that surprised me.

Go on and watch the sixth webisode of Does It Float?.

Read my original capsule review here!

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TIFF 2013: JGL Goes to GTD – Gym, Tan, Direct

September 1, 2013 5 comments

DonJonstill

By: Addison Wylie

If you can bear with Don Jon’s vulgar vocabulary, you may find yourself swept up in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut.  It’s a modern day romance with just the right dash of sweet and salty.

Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, a guido with a heart who loves to spend time with his boys, work out, and scope out chicks.  At the end of the day, he likes to come home and watch a lil’ porn.  Y’know, in the same way a mouse would consider seven blocks of monterey jack cheese a “snack”.

Gordon-Levitt’s quirky love story is amusingly crass, but soon becomes a very charming vehicle for the ambitious filmmaker/actor.  He’s also able to pull an adorable yet abrasive performance from Scarlett Johansson and an energetic portrayal from Tony Danza as Jon’s father, who looks as if he would explode if he became anymore frustrated at his son.

Don Jon slowly but surely shifts into more of a serious tone as it faces Jon’s pornographic addiction head-on.  Denial is handled well and none of his gradual weening seems forced or heavy-handed.  It’s not as much fun as the lively first act, but the added weight makes Don Jon into something more than a thumping, intentionally shallow fever dream.  However, during that stylized first act, Don Jon is able to maintain the party without feeling obnoxious.

Don Jon isn’t only a pretty good directorial debut from Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  It’s a pretty good movie overall.

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Don Jon has its Canadian premiere at TIFF on September 10 at 6:30 p.m. as well as an encore screening on September 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Can’t make the festival? Catch Don Jon in theatres September 27.

Rating: R
Language: English
Runtime: 90 minutes

Realted Links:

For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.

Check out the Don Jon TIFF page here.

Buy tickets here.

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